Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Alex Zablah, Yazhen Xiao, Garriy Shteynberg
Changes in technology are shifting the way people form and maintain relationships. Marketers need to understand how these relationship dynamics are evolving in order to stay relevant within consumers lives and to continue to provide value. The work presented here examines two different types of marketing relationships and seeks to understand how those relationships are evolving in the face of changing technology. The first essay focuses on consumer relationships with service providers. Within this context, text message communication is becoming more common and replacing either face-to-face or voice only communication messages. Emojis have become a common linguistic tool to add meaning to text-only communications. I demonstrate how a smiling emoji can be used in this context to convey positive emotion and, further, that emotional signal can transfer from sender to receiver in the same way a smile does in a face-to-face exchange. The second essay looks at consumer relationships with products when the product is automated. Automated products are shift the fundamental level and type of interaction that the consumer has with the end product. I show that automation negatively affects the consumer-product relationship by disrupting the routes to psychological ownership of the product. These lowered feelings of ownership, in turn, result in negative consequences for marketers such as lower satisfaction and brand loyalty upon repurchase. Finally, anthropomorphism is demonstrated to help mitigate the negative consequences of automation on psychological ownership.Together these essays illustrate two ways relationships are being impacted by changes in technologies and strategies that marketers can take to navigate these changes. New technologies will continue to transform the way we communicate and form relationships. Marketers need to be aware of how new technologies will impact relationships and adapt accordingly.
Smith, Leah Malyn, "Digitally Mediated Marketing Relationships. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2020.
Chapter 1 was previously published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing